Silent Hill: Book of Memories Preview
Survival horror meets Diablo in Konami's co-op powered monster mash.
Konami's spine-tingling Silent Hill franchise has a respectable history on Sony's PlayStation Portable (PSP), with the enjoyable Silent Hill: Origins and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, both of which follow the series tradition of plunging fans into creepy towns overflowing with monsters.
That said, one of the biggest themes, isolation, remained front and center. Although you ran into a variety of non-player characters, you were always on your own.
That'll change with the March 27 arrival of Silent Hill: Book of Memories, an exclusive entry for PlayStation Vita currently in development at WayForward, the same talented studio that delivered Aliens: Infestation for Nintendo DS. Instead of exploring on your own, you can team up with four other players.
Not only that, but you create a character from the ground up, rather than take on a predetermined role.
From what we can tell, the game doesn't thrust you into a story-driven adventure. The plot revolves around changing your fate by rewriting a book containing all of your memories, hence the title.
Instead, you set off to destroy waves of progressively difficult monsters spanning at least ten years of Silent Hill lore, including those sexy yet twisted nurses that have become Silent Hill staples, and Pyramid Head. These creatures appear from spawn points, and apparently won't stop until you destroy these objects.
Weapons, meanwhile, include revolvers and submachine guns with limited ammunition, as well as lead pipes, all of which degrade over time, forcing you to locate new ones and/or die trying. We've also heard of characters using spells to defeat their adversaries.
Another big change comes in the form of an isometric perspective, with the camera pulled way back. That's a far cry from Silent Hill's past, where the camera sat just behind the character. Hard to get scared when you can see everything.
Finally, pressing the touch screen lets you pick up new weapons, call up the map or access your inventory. Good to see Konami making use of the tech.
As for the gameplay, there's definitely cause for concern. We love most of WayForward's games, and think the team will do a good job with this title, but come on. This isn't the Silent Hill we know and love. Konami took the proven survival horror formula and gave us something more reminiscent of a dungeon crawler like Blizzard's Diablo. There was no need to do something this drastic.
For now, we'll just have to wait. Silent Hill: Book of Memories has the potential to be a fine action game, but on the flip side, mixing horror with run and gun combat could be a huge mistake.